A Sweet Story
Once upon a time a great group of kids came down to the San Diego Zoo because of winning a contest of ours. They were super-talented and very nice and we enjoyed their company.
Then they handed us a bible and started prodding David and I about our religious beliefs. We kindly refused to answer stating the job was no place to discuss such matters.
And believe me…I really wanted to smack them for being so rude to us…but you get that feeling a lot for various reasons when performing to the public and they fart on your parade…and plus you’re working. You’re showing all sorts of restraint professionally and then someone walks over and lets out a giant fart and cups their hands and waves it into your face. “Yeeeeeeah, y’like that don’tcha?”
So you just smile and take it and nod in agreement. I’m there to entertain you- I’ve been pelted with food, kicked, insulted from Balboa Park to the Zoo…that’s the life of an entertainer.
After a long day of performing and generally being cool to them only to have it end with a misinformed gesture, it really upset us. But we got that it was suppose to be nice. We understood the intent. And we didn’t let them see how greatly they had offended us.
You can be a super-nice person…but pulling out a bible really cramps the style. That’s not like pulling out Catcher in The Rye and saying “This book is awesome. You should give it a read!” You’re forcing your religion on people you don’t even know. What if I already had a religion that wasn’t Christianity? You couldn’t have known- that would have been an even bigger insult perhaps.
Rewinding to our Balboa Park days, there have been plenty of bible-thumpers. And I mean that in the extreme sense. We had your usual Balboa Park megaphone screaming man pointing at us and saying “THERE THEY ARE! THE DEMONS ARE AMONG US! THEY’RE WALKING AWAY NOW STRAIGHT TO HELL!” and we’ve had some nice teenagers come up to us wanting to do an interview…only to onslaught us with religious interrogation. Quoting from the bible and telling us of the proof that we were sinning without God and that we would burn. WHY DO NICE KIDS TURN OUT TO HAVE CREEPY MUSIC START TO PLAY BEHIND THEM AND GROW HORNS WITH CHILDREN OF THE CORN SHIT.
I’m not sure this counts as a religious bias- but take it for what you will. I know not every religious person is a nutbar. Jon Sprague is an awesome dude and he’s very religious. WE NEVER FOUGHT ON IT. He kept it to himself. He even shared his spirituality with me and I was able to learn a lot because he was so passive about it.
The bad experiences do outweigh the good ones…even if not in numbers. Always. It gets under your skin. And It happened multiple times to us as a group- and these are people who didn’t know who we are. Granted…Balboa Park can be crazy- but these were just kids…innocent normal looking kids quoting this fire and brimstone and judging us when all we were doing was trying to entertain.
Look, SPG is a very progressive act. There’s robots. The Cavalcadium backstory (which you haven’t seen yet) even centers around two lesbians. We get into themes like the existence of souls in our songs. There’s alternate dimensions and scientists who created entire worlds.
But religion is never a primary focus. We just put a scientific spin on everything including magic and myth. Its fun. Its sci-fi. But…did the people who make this act take for granted what a robot is? No. We’re fully aware that a lot of people do though, and while its a fun and amusing act, its also trying to make you think differently. From seeing the invisible objects the robots interact with, to getting a shock when they malfunction and break down and you start questioning: where do their personalities begin and where does their programming end?
I don’t think you’re going to see the official SPG anything start spouting cold-cut beliefs. We’ve crossed that line with LBGT rights, but that was a decision made for an issue we feel strongly about. And c’mon…that’s silly. Lets all be gay. It’s 2013.
Religion and politics -are- best left to yourself. But people spout them anyway. And if you’re going to come into the personal tags or threads or what-have-you, we’re not going to sit idly by and take it.
I don’t make an effort to start speaking about my religious beliefs (and you still don’t know what they are) so don’t drag us down that road. It doesn’t even matter.
You are following our personal blogs. If you don’t like our views…don’t follow us. I’m not following you. I don’t have to read your essay. Just like you don’t have to read mine. You can enjoy the act without digging deeper into the a-holes that make it happen. And if you like having a slice of our lives, you can’t pick and choose. There’s gonna be stuff that pisses you off in addition to stuff that you love. But we’re sure as hell tired of walking on eggshells trying not to offend just because we have opinions that may differ from yours.
We like that you enjoy our music. We’re happy to make it for you. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to sit with you and pray to your bottle of buffalo wing sauce or agree that Once Upon A Time is a ground-breaking show.
You have opinions. We have opinions. You don’t just get to say whatever you like and expect us to just smile and nod and respect it. You’ll get that at the shows. You can throw bibles, pelt us with food, and kick our shins to your hearts content„,because that’s our job.
But not on my tumblr.
And to anyone foaming at the mouth wanting to let Steve, Bunny, and David have it and is planning on writing an equally long-winded response to give us a piece of your mind…don’t you have something better to do than frequent a piss-ass celebrity’s sad excuse for a social stream?
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Every week or so the fans build a Colosseum around themselves and pick up various battle axes and morning stars to beat each other with while togaed David, Sam, Bunny, Steve, Matt, and Mike eat grapes in their Ceaser boxes from above.
Sam licks his furry upper lip and proclaims, “LET THE BLOODBATH BEGIN!”
The crowds go wild.
But that’s not REALLY the case. And you should ignore those thumbs down and cheering from your peers as you stand over the defeated like Russell Crowe.
Seems a bit ridiculous right?
You are correct. Because SPG does not care about your drama with another fan. We just want to entertain you. If anything it should be Sam and David in the pit swinging their metaphorical talent swords for victory of who’s the funniest DnD character.
As someone who spends a lot of time on the internet for their job, and as an internet-savvy individual from even before SPG, I like to think I understand where you guys are coming from. I have a fair amount of knowledge of fandoms at this point and internet-douchery in general.
When you pick a fight with someone on the internet, you’re not going to win. A lot of internet’s drama doesn’t really happen IRL…because text and the ambiguity of the digital age has built a virtual soapbox fortress for everyone. And everyone has an opinion they want and will share. There’s not a lot of repercussions from running your mouth here.
With that in mind, when it comes to internet fandoms you can bet the e-drama seeps in. Regardless, I’ve had both professionals and the casual observer routinely say how well-behaved and encouraging our fanbase is. And its true, you guys are quite smart, caring, and passionate individuals. But that doesn’t mean we’re immune to the fandom cliches. Every online community has the same problems. It is still the internet after all.
SPG is really-really open with our fans and easily accessible. Once you’ve consumed all our art you can follow each individual member online and get even more fandom out of your fandom. Right when you get out we PULL YOU BACK IN. And with the realization that these painted merry-men are actual people who are pretty cool guys (except Sam Luke), the line between buddy and fan can get blurred. You’re churning up excitement for yourself because you can now be a part of our lives. And its exciting that you can go to Merkabah with Jon or see Matt play Jazz. Or watch me farm Holograms in Diessa Plateau. And I imagine there’s a lot of people who want to hang out with Mike or David and talk to them about diamonds and zombie bears.
Oh yeah…and Steve about Megaman and Sam about…I dunno…NPR.
But we are artists first. And we don’t like getting pulled into the internet drama. Anyone wanting to bring us in on drama has to understand…our first priority is to set our personal tastes aside and think about what’s best for the company. If the problem has anything to do with safety or an upset customer we have to take precautions to protect ourselves and you …like on The Cavalcadium.
There are mods who police the content for your safety, and it is a pretty thankless job. These folks get picked on a lot because they have to make the difficult calls to ban and enforce a PG-rated forum. The trade off is that they work alongside us (and…maybe that’s why they get picked on too). JEALOUSY ASIDE- we don’t pick favorites and we don’t really have time to deal with it. We do utilize a lot of fan-effort in this band, and we do our best to treat those folks as we would any other contractor or volunteer: with a good amount of professionalism.
There is no difference between someone writing an essay about how Steam Powered Giraffe was better when they played at the zoo every summer and someone who sings our praises and “fanboys” up a defensive storm. They’re both seeking attention and anything that turns into “he said this” or “she said that” immediately just implodes into general internet douchebaggery.
The SPG chat panel is flooded with Meme references and it frustrates you- well…guess what. Its the internet.
Someone says they want into David’s pants and it irks you- well…guess what. Its the internet.
There is fan art of David and me making out and it makes you projectile vomit- well…guess what. Its the inter-BLAAAAAAAAARGH-
But we can’t police the internet and we can’t be responsible for everything anyone says in relation to Steam Powered Giraffe. Of course we get concerned about you guys- and we wish we could fix your problems and make you happy, but we simply can’t.
Julia may have been mean to you on Tumblr, Jose may have wrote a long angry post about the fans, Johnny may have blocked you from messaging him, and Ronny may have said terrible things about people who have first names starting with the letter J, but none of that should matter.
When you spend too much time on the internet, regardless of fandom…reality starts to get warped. Hey, a lot of us are young…we grew up with a USB port in our butts…but don’t let that keep you from remembering there is life outside the internet and sometimes you just gotta step outside and see Man of Steel in IMAX 3D because its really good.
I have to remind myself all the time. And I get a plethora of e-mails and messages with a whole bunch of stimuli both positive and negative. On long business days If I don’t get up every hour and take a walk or help Laura cross that crashed airplane to get to some more scrap so I can upgrade my shotgun, then I start to get sucked into that arena.
Months ago you guys saw me falling into these internet traps because folks were using something near and dear against me, and take it from me… it can feel that you’re powerless…especially when you take things personally. Sometimes people will find that nerve and stick it in. And sometimes you just have to step back from your smoldering PC with a baseball bat embedded into it and go hiking.
The complaints…the weird stuff…the upsetting things…they are a minority. That’s not to say all problems are null and void- because we do have to address certain things, especially if we have an uphappy customer or a fan problem we can actually do something about. But like everything in life…internet drama needs to be taken in moderation. Just cut back on your intake folks.
Sometimes you just need to get off the internet and remind yourself it just doesn’t matter. Instead of spending four hours surfing Tumblr- take an hour and then ride your bike. Instead of playing Minecraft all night, mix it up by running through the street at night flailing and shouting while covered in reflective tape because that’s just common sense in safety.
So lets all tear down this battle arena, drop our metaphorical shields of LolCats and Invader Zim Tumblr Backgrounds and all get together and ride Megaraptors. Because Romans riding dinosaurs seems like a cool idea.
And I thought of it first. And if anyone wants to challenge me, I have a giant sword of “that little gray hand that blocks people so I don’t have to see anything they write anymore.”
Now excuse me while I go complain about no endgame content on Random MMO Title Released in The Last Five Years.